When my husband and I decided to adopt a puppy, I followed my normal planning protocol: write out a master list of all the things to research, do, and buy. I scoured the internet for the best brands and prices, loaded up my carts, and then stopped. I want to have an eco-friendly dog, so we decided to go about this process differently.
We knew this would be an imperfect process and there would be some waste. However, we felt it was worth the time to be intentional about this life change!
Eco-Friendly Dog Tips
Research Products & Brands
Many of the items on our list are consumable products like dog food and treats.
I’m a big believer that food quality matters! I’d rather pay more now to feed my animals well than to deal with a sick and ailing animal later on.
I researched the best dog food brands online until I found one that seemed to be high quality and made in the US. Here are some conscientiously-sourced pet food brands to consider.
Always be sure to check to see if your brand has been involved in any dog food recalls!
Start Out Small
Although I love to buy everything in bulk, I decided NOT to buy the 30 lb bag of puppy food right off the bat. Although this may result in extra wasted packaging and shipping fuel, I’d rather waste a 5 lb bag of puppy food if our dog hates it than waste 30 lbs!
Once we know she likes this food, we will order in bulk to get the best price and to reduce packaging and shipping waste.
Read: 39 Simple, Intuitive Ways to Reduce Your Waste
Ask for Recommendations
Since dogs are the most common pet, we know that most of our Facebook friends have dogs at home! When we knew for sure we were getting a puppy, we put out a post asking for pro tips, best products, and for used items we could buy or borrow.
Tap into your network! We got some great advice on puppy training this way that has been very helpful. We also got some crates and puppy pads this way!
Check Your Local Buy Nothing Groups
After putting out a request for any used items on Facebook, I posted a request for any dog items on my local Buy Nothing group and neighborhood group. I found baby gates, dog food bowls, and more.
Taking time to ask for help and tap into your local community takes time, but is an excellent strategy to be an eco-friendly dog parent and consumer!
Look for Used Products First
If you cannot borrow what you need, look for used products! We always check Facebook Marketplace and our local thrift stores whether we are buying puppy gear or furniture.
We will pass on all the used items we acquired when we’re done with them to help another dog family reduce their waste, too!
Make Your Own
Use your DIY skills to reduce your dog’s carbon footprint! We certainly purchased some items new, like puppy training treats. However, we want to start making our own to reduce the cost, preservatives, and plastic waste. Here’s a recipe we want to try for DIY puppy training treats!
You can also make dog beds, toys, washable puppy pads, and more. This can be a great way to reuse products you already have and to avoid plastic packaging.
Buy Products Made to Last
Although pretty much everything connected to puppies seems expensive, I really focused on finding durable brands that are made to last.
I would rather spend a little extra now to buy a high-quality product and not need a new one for a few years than to buy junk that cannot be recycled and will need to be replaced in 6 months.
Plus, think about products like dog toys that can often be destroyed in moments! We are very happy with our Kong toys that should last for a long time.
Plan for Potty Training
Did you know that people sell reusable fabric puppy pads on Etsy? If you need to pad train your dog for any reason, these could be really useful!
Rosie took the crate quickly, so we haven’t really been had to use the eco-friendly dog pads. However, they are incredibly absorbent! We added one inside the cover on her dog bed to absorb any accidents.
We’ve just been watching her really closely and bell training. When she does have accidents, we’ve been using a recycled paper towel (literally the only reason we have them) and our steam cleaner. We are so glad we bought a good quality steam cleaner!
Find Local Pet Businesses in Your Area
This can be a great way to try new pet foods without dropping a lot of cash! They often have good prices, too. There are even some near me where after so many bags, you get the 10th one free! This is a great way to support your local economy, build community, and divest from companies like Amazon.
Look for Natural Fabrics and Materials
This one is tricky because in some cases, natural products may not be durable enough for your pup! However, you can often find more sustainable collars, leashes, toys, and bedding if you look for them specifically.
There are many ways to buy natural products for dog toys – check out these antlers! We also saw that our local butcher shop sells femur bones and other cuts for pet treats. We’ll consider those when our dog has her adult teeth.
Deal with Pet Waste Responsibly
Although we have a fenced backyard, we plan to walk our dog around our neighborhood, local trails, and in the mountains. We need an eco-friendly plan for her waste!
Dealing with dog waste sustainably is challenging. We have some biodegradable dog waste bags, but they’re still not ideal. They work well in a pinch and are better than regular plastic.
Did you know there are little dog waste composters you can buy? Even better, make your own! They digest the waste naturally. Some people rave about them!
Keep Your Pet Active and Healthy
Dogs that are not meeting their innate drives will react with behavioral problems. Then, we try to find ways to solve these problems with new toys, projects, and other contraptions.
Planning for our puppy, we’re thinking about how to make sure we can give her as much activity as she needs! We’re looking at our schedules, figuring out when we can go outside for walks and hikes, planning runs, etc. We’re also getting in the habit of storing our shoes in the hall closet, just in case!
- Eco-Friendly Litter Robot Hacks
- Zero Waste Cleaning Swaps
- Easy Zero Waste Swaps for Beginners
- 11 Ways to Be Sustainable in Everyday Life
What else do you recommend we try to be eco-friendly dog parents?
We love our pup, but also want to be thoughtful about buying good quality products that are good for her and the environment?